Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Minute for Marketing: Review for Philip Johnston’s Promoting Your Teaching Studio

Friday, September 25th, 2009

practicespot1By Laura Lowe

Republished with permission from the Piano Studio

No series on marketing the independent teaching studio would be complete without a review of Philip Johnston’s book The PracticeSpot Guide To Promoting Your Teaching Studio.

In general, I think this book’s a worthwhile read. It will help you launch and maintain a full-fledged advertising campaign, as opposed to utilizing a few isolated marketing efforts here and there. Especially since most of us have spent more time learning how to play and teach well than how to advertise effectively, it provides a valuable education in how to think like a marketer. It’s one of the only books about marketing geared specifically for piano teachers. The ideas range from yellow pages ads to community involvement.

Most reviews of this book praise it for the many ideas it presents for advertising the teaching studio. I think the book’s greatest strength is not in the individual tips, but in the marketing theory which is woven throughout the book and which you’ll assimilate without even realizing it as you read. Most of us could think up those practical marketing ideas – we see other businesses using those techniques all the time! But, I think we fail to realize that we can do the same things, or even need to do those things. By the time you finish Johnston’s book, you’ll be thinking of your teaching studio as a business that needs a marketing plan just like any other business, and you’ll some good practical ideas for how to put your plan to work.

I do have a couple of criticisms. First, the book fails to address how to prioritize marketing efforts according to cost-effectiveness. Most of us have very limited advertising budgets. I think this should have been a major point, and it will be the subject of my next Minute for Marketing post.

My second criticism is that, even when it was copyrighted in 2006, the book was limited in its discussion of online advertising. The last chapter of the book, Using the Power of the Internet, is an advertisement for Johnston’s own web service for teachers, PracticeSpot’s webvertisements. While I don’t blame him a bit for doing this (he’s a savvy marketer and after all, the book’s title is The PracticeSpot Guide to…), it does prevent the book from being complete as a guide to marketing the teaching studio. Even in 2006, the power of the internet for music teachers was certainly not limited to PracticeSpot. For instance, there’s no mention of blogging, a medium alive and healthy in ‘06. By now, the book is sorely outdated where internet marketing is concerned as social networking, social bookmarking, and other dynamic applications are changing the game in a big way.

In short, I like the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for ways to grow a teaching studio, especially new teachers and especially those who are opening a large community facility. Just keep in mind that it’s incomplete.

Invest In Yourself So You Will Have More To Give To Your Students

Monday, September 21st, 2009

by Amy Gould

Republished with permission from Music Teachers Helper

Being a teacher requires you to give a lot of your energy to your students. If you don’t spend time taking care of yourself and replenishing your own energy levels, you may get burned out. Summer is a great time to focus on yourself. Here are a few ideas that I’ve come up with to help you replenish your own energy. If you add a couple of these to your weekly schedule, they will pay off big time.

Start or make over a work out

Any way you can take time for yourself is a good thing, but working out is good for a lot of reasons. It raises your endorphins, which are the feel good hormones. It helps reduce stress. Plus you will increase your lung capacity and stamina. Even getting out and going for a bike ride or a walk will improve your outlook.


Meditation helps you to relax it has been shown to increase immunity. The best part is that if you have a regular practice, the effects last longer. I’ve noticed that when I regularly do yoga and meditation, I experience less performance anxiety, less stress in rush hour traffic, more patience in lessons or stressful situations and more.


Yoga has many benefits. Some of them are the same as meditation. Since yoga requires diaphragmatic breathing, it is great for breath support. It also helps to improve range of motion and flexibility. It has helped me to get rid of tension in many places. Deep breathing for an 20 minutes to an hour helps to reduce stress as well. Yoga is a moving practice, so it is great if you aren’t good at sitting still for meditation.


Massage is great for reducing stress and getting rid of pain or stiffness. Some forms are even good for improving flexibility. I know that I feel like a million bucks after getting a massage (even if I was in complete melt down mode when I went to the massage.)

Mini Vacation

Take a day off. No cleaning, studio work or anything allowed. Sleep in, go somewhere fun or just stay home and watch all the movies that you have been dying to see. Sometimes a real vacation can cause more stress then it alleviates. A day or two off at home can make you feel like a million bucks. If staying home is too stressful (with all of its visual reminders of things that need to be done, phone calls and chores), stay for a day or two at a hotel nearby. While you are there book a couple of hours at a spa.

Inspiriational CD, book or seminar

Listening to inspirational books on CD, reading a book, or going to a seminar on motivation are all great ways to improve your outlook. Here are a few to get you started.

Zig Ziglar – Better Than Good, Creating the Life you Can’t Wait to Live.

Anthony Robbins – Awakening the Giant Within.

Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way

Eloise Ristad – A Soprano on Her Head

Read for fun

Take a look at the list of recommended books from your library. Pick something fun that you might read if you were a kid. (no self help books, educational reading or anything else applies.) Spend as much time as you can getting lost in the book (no guilt allowed either.)

Try to pick one or two of these to add into your week. If you add them in weekly or daily, it will help you to avoid burn out and have more energy to give to the others in your life.

References – as requested

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

By Leah Coutts

I have been asked to supply the references I used for my presentation on motivation – here it is, along with where the books are available to purchase online (the pictures are links):


Clark, F. (1992). Questions and answers: Practical advice for piano teachers.Northfield,Illinois: Instrumentalist Co

Uszler, M, Gordon, S., & McBride Smith, S. (2000). The well-tempered keyboard teacher (2nd ed.). New York: Schirmer Books.

Darling, E. (Ed.). (2005). A piano teacher’s legacy: Selected writings by Richard Chronister. Kingston, New Jersey: The Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.

Coats, S. (2006). Thinking as you play: Teaching piano in individual and group lessons. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Guy, S. (2006). If it’s not new and exciting, it’s old and boring. Keyboard Companion, 17(4),30-31.

Hisey, A. (2002). What is “fun?” Keyboard Companion 13(2), 25-26.

Huitt, W. (2001). Motivation to learn: An overview. Retrieved from Educational PsychologyInteractive: Motivation Web site:

Kreader, B. (2000). What do you do with a student who hates to play the piano? Keyboard Companion, 11(1), 5-7.

Lyke, J., & Enoch, Y. (1987). Creative piano teaching. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes.

Tollefson, M. (2000). How do you motivate a student who is not practicing?Keyboard Companion 11(1), 26-28.

I recommend that all teachers have a library of resources on which to draw to further their insight into learning styles and teaching practices that can further their own teaching.